A Guide to Rochester’s Unknown and Well-known Study Spots

Hey there, everyone! As we approach midterms and exams, the need to find good study places becomes more and more important. Wise saints like me will tell you to find a good spot as early as you can rather than waiting a night before the exam. So in this blog, I will highlight some places around campus that you can go to study. I encourage you to try out a few places and feel the vibes because the right environment can improve your productivity tenfold.

My main suggestion is to first discover your study style and then decide on a place, because the place should complement your style. This is also a great way to learn about Rochester’s campus. You will probably be surprised by a few of the places mentioned below.

Rush Rhees Library is not one single space, but rather a set of different studying spaces. They are:

The Perodical Reading Room with long wooden tables, rows of bookshelves, elegant paneling, and table and ceiling lamps

The Perodical Reading Room


Q & I (Evans Lam Square)
This is what you see when you walk straight through the lobby of Rush Rhees. It has large tables and booths, computers, and other electronic resources. Ask for help at the Q&I (questions and information) desk. You can also borrow books from here.

Periodical Reading Room (PRR)
This space just upstairs has beautiful lamps and lighting, a silent studying environment, and gives off a classic/Hogwarts vibe. Just being in this room feels classy (I personally love this place). It also overlooks the main quad and leads out to a balcony complete with Adirondack chairs. Snag one if you’re lucky.

The Great Hall
This is just across the landing from the PRR and is a smaller, cozier studying place similar to the PRR.

The Humanities Center
Situated just behind the Great Hall, this newer space is a good spot for personal studying in small study rooms.

Each floor/level (there are ten, I believe) of Rush Rhees Library has shelves upon shelves (stacks) of books, where people find everything from young adult fiction to 200-year-old encyclopedias. However, stacks are also for people who prefer to be really alone while studying. Stacks are extremely silent places, have fewer people, and are surrounded almost entirely by books.
Recommended places: third floor, basements, upper floors

Gleason Library
Gleason Library is an extremely versatile study area because it has options for both group/discussion studying and alone/quiet studying. You can study in the quiet area if you like, or out in the library if you prefer to study with people. It also has printing access, several public computers, and is right next to the IT Center where you can get technical help or borrow laptop chargers. Gleason Library also has booths for enclosed group studying and sleeping pods for relaxing.

Art and Music Library
The Art and Music Library is a small and ambient place for studying. If you need to reserve DVDs, headphones, or private study rooms, then this is the right place for you. You can find popular selections for film and music here.

Art & Music Library with shelves of DVDs, plants, cozy couches, magazines, art, and lime green walls

Art & Music Library

Carlson Library (in the computer science building)
Carlson Library is another fantastic place to study. This place is especially favored by STEM students because it is situated in the science/engineering quad. Carlson Library has amazing desks, a popular STEM reading section, relaxing couches for breaks, and is beautifully designed. The third floor has booths for private studying. You also have computers and printing access here.
Best place: Third floor, basement

Robbins Library
Robbins Library is a somewhat covert place. I had never heard of it until I started doing some digging in order to write this blog post. After visiting recently, I saw Robbins Library as a cute and aesthetically pleasing place for studying. It is small, less populated, and has a great selection of books for English and Middle Ages studies.

Rettner Media Lab
Rettner Media Lab is an amazing place to work if you intend to use heavy software for your digital media or engineering projects. This place has heavy duty Mac and Windows computers with paid-for applications such as Adobe and Final Cut Pro, and engineering software such as Autodesk, NX, Creo, etc. This place also has 3D printing facilities and rents out media gear such as cameras, mics, projectors, and recorders, FOR FREE. You are also encouraged to try the new virtual reality equipment (HTC Vive). The third floor is also known to be a sweet studying spot.

Rettner Hall, a futuristic space with open staircases and brick and yellow metal accents

Rettner Hall (on the second floor looking down to the first floor)

Physics, Optics, and Astronomy Library (POA)
POA is a really chill place to study. This space is especially great for physics students or for anyone who wants to learn more about physics. You can find some great physics books here. POA also has many board games including chess and Go, which can be really good for relieving stress. You can also rent out laptop and phone chargers here.

LeChase (Warner education building)
LeChase is a beautifully designed building and is a slightly different place to study as compared to most libraries mentioned above. If you are someone who likes to be away from other people while studying, then LeChase is the ideal place for you. The third floor of LeChase is a quieter place.

The third and fourth floors above Douglass Dining Center are usually small but convenient studying spaces. The language center here is a good spot to study. Comfortable couches and private study rooms are available around this place, which is also close to the Pit, Starbucks, and Douglass Dining Center. So, if you are someone who prefers eating while studying, then this place is for you.

Buildings in Engineering Quad
All of these are a great option: the computer science building, Hopeman (for mechanical and electrical engineering), Gavett (has computer labs), Harkness (for political science and economics), Goergen (for optics and biomedical engineering), and Hylan (for mathematics).

Buildings in Eastman Quad
Again, you can’t go wrong with any of these: Morey (for digital media/film), Bausch + Lomb (for physics), Lattimore, Dewey, and Meliora (for psychology).

I encourage you to check out the various floors of these buildings because most of them have rooms that can be great studying places. I tried to cover as many places as I could, but of course, there might still be some places that I missed. I encourage you to explore campus until you find the right spot. Generally, in order to find quieter places, you should check out the basements and upper floors (if any) of the places mentioned above because they are usually quieter and less populated.

I hope you found this blog informative and I wish you good luck with your studying!

About the author

Rahul Gupta

Hi, I'm a member of the Class of 2020. I come from a small rural town on the India-Nepal border called Bairgania. I am studying electrical and computer engineering, and film and media studies. I love traveling, making videos, and playing soccer!

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